Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sophomore English:Small Group Presentations

Back to School!

I am now about to begin the third week of school with my sophomores. I have one great advantage with this group--I had them last year for English I. It was nice to not have to learn names for a new group!

Since I knew I would have the same group again, I gave them a short summer reading assignment which would introduce them to Creation Myths. As sophomores, they are taking World History and I always like to do interdisciplinary planning with the Social Studies department.  The World History teacher and I went through the Scope and Sequence for W. History, and I plugged in texts that would compliment both of the SEs for English and the SEs for W. History.

Robert Barker helped me quantify student expectations for the assignment, and I gave the students the lesson via Edmodo.  You can find it here:

English II _World History Summer Assignment

Last week, the students presented their projects in small group rotations. I am a big fan of this method for several reasons:

  1. It allows students to present more than once. I grade them on their 2nd or 3rd presentation when they have honed their time, pacing, and poise.
  2. It is easier for the small groups to pay attention to the presenter than if we were to have one presenter in front of the whole class.
  3. For introverted students, it is less daunting than doing a full group presentation.  
  4. Students are more apt to take notes during presentations because of the close proximity to the presenter.
Admittedly, it is a logistical nightmare with varying class sizes.  I assign the groups and it is easy for me to forget from class to class who was presenting (I now teach 7 of 8 class periods!).  Also, if you have 4 students presenting, they will not see each others presentation.  There was overlap in this assignment, so it wasn't a problem.

Here are some pics of the assignment in full bloom.  My principal loved it!  It really is one of those class dynamics that pretty much guarantee 100% engagement.

Five Presenters with four audience members at each station. I can walk around and remind about poise, volume, and pacing.
Students who used Popplet, Voicethread, GlogsterEDU or other 2.0 tools instead of PowerPoint or Prezi got extra points.

Presentation using Popplet

Students needed 2 instances of audience interaction. Here they complete a phone poll.

Using PollEverywhere for audience interaction.

It was definitely an energetic week. I saw so much growth in my sophomores. The introverts have learned how to come out of their shell for presenting and give it their all.  I also attribute this to the many instances of Performance-Based Learning activities we do.

We are off to begin our unit on Antigone now as they begin Ancient Civilizations in World History. We will do our engagement activity with my own version of a 32-second Antigone (a take-off of the 32 second Macbeth from the Folger)

Keep me in mind this week:  I submitted a proposal to get a sponsored for a classroom redesign! Fingers crossed!  I got the idea from here:  Rethinking Classroom Design  (This teacher has some amazing information on her site!)

Blessed to be teaching,
Greta

 

 

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